Tag Archives: cristiano

Real Madrid greats past and present: Alfredo Di Stefano awards Cristiano Ronaldo with trophy for La Liga"s best player

Real Madrid greats past and present:
Di Stefano awards Ronaldo with trophy for La Liga's best player

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La Liga's best Ronaldo was awarded the trophy based on his efforts in the 2011/2012 season

Frail: But Di Stefano is still treated with the respect he deserves

Frail: But Di Stefano is still treated with the respect he deserves

'In our neighborhood we used to hold major football sessions that went on until it got dark, with everyone playing against each other,' he said. 'Maybe the pope was one of the guys I played football with in the street.

'At that time I was the famous one because from a very young age I belonged to River Plate’s youth team, everybody knew me,' added Di Stefano, widely regarded as the finest player of his generation for his significant influence in leading Real to five consecutive European Cups, before revealing he had missed the pope's introduction.

Childhood friends Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, grew up in the same area as Di Stefano

Childhood friends Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, grew up in the same area as Di Stefano

'I must confess that while everyone else watched the white smoke live, I saw it later. I was, as always, watching a football game.

'[Ronaldo] He is a great player and a team player. I am very happy.'

THE REAL GREATS: ALFREDO DI STEFANO V CRISTIANO RONALDO

Alfredo Di Stefano

Alfredo Di Stefano

Date of birth: 4 July 1926
Place of Birth: Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Position: Forward

Clubs: River Plate (1945, 1947-49 ), Huracn (1946), Millonarios (1949-52), Real Madrid (1953-64), Espanyol (1964-66).
National Team: 31 matches (23 goals) with Spain; 6 matches (6 goals) with Argentina

Honours
5 European Cups (Real Madrid, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960)
1 Intercontinental Cup (Real Madrid, 1960)
1 America cup (River Plate, 1947)
8 Spanish leagues (Real Madrid, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964)
1 Spanish Cup (Real Madrid, 1962)
2 Argentinian leagues (River Plate, 1945, 1947)
4 Colombian leagues (Millonarios Bogot, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953)

La Liga's best Ronaldo was awarded the trophy based on his efforts in the 2011/2012 season

Cristiano Ronaldo

Date of birth: 4 July 1926
Place of Birth: Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Position: Forward

Clubs: Sporting Lisbon (2001-2003), Manchester United (2003-2009), Real Madrid (2009-present).
National Team: 101 matches (38 goals) with Portugal

Honours
1 European Cup (Manchester United, 2008)
3 Premier Leagues (Manchester United, 2007, 2008, 2009) 1 FA Cup (Manchester United, 2004) 1 League Cup (Manchester United, 2006) 1 Spanish league (Real Madrid, 2012) 1 Spanish Cup (Real Madrid, 2011)
1 Spanish Super Cup (Real Madrid, 2012) 1 Portuguese League (Sporting Lisbon, 2002 1 Portuguese Super Cup (Sporting Lisbon, 2002) 1 Portuguese Cup (Sporting Lisbon, 2002)

VIDEO: REAL MADRID GREAT ALFREDO DI STEFANO AT HIS PEAK

Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano graces the Bernabeu

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Luis Suarez to Manchester United? No just dodgy lookalike of Champions League heartbreaker Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid

Suarez to United No – just a dodgy lookalike of Champions League heartbreaker Ronaldo

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

12:46 GMT, 6 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:04 GMT, 6 March 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo received a rapturous ovation on his return to Old Trafford as Real Madrid toppled Manchester United in the Champions League last night.

But he might be less pleased with the merchandise on sale outside the Theatre of Dreams – because it makes him look like Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

Scroll down for post-match reaction

Doppelganger: This United fans' scarf (left), on sale before last night's Champions League exit to Real Madrid, looks more like Luis Suarez - the hitman for arch-rivals Liverpool - than the former Old Trafford hero

Doppelganger: This United fans' scarf (left), on sale before last night's Champions League exit to Real Madrid, looks more like Luis Suarez – the hitman for arch-rivals Liverpool – than the former Old Trafford hero

A scarf meant to depict the former United favourite is a dead ringer for United’s arch rivals’ talisman Suarez, complete with No 7, which Ronaldo shares with the Uruguayan.

Ronaldo scored the winner in Madrid’s 2-1 win, and displayed his love for his previous employers by not celebrating his goal.

He was even looking glum at the airport this morning and apologised for knocking his former club out of the competition.

Suarez

Ronaldo

Dead ringer Uruguayan striker Suarez (left), and Ronaldo (right), looking glum after scoring last night

Welcome home: A young United fan greets the Ronaldo, who left Old Trafford for Madrid in 2009

Welcome home: A young United fan greets the Ronaldo, who left Old Trafford for Madrid in 2009

The fans responded by celebrating their former hero’s return last night, holding up banners calling for him to move back to Old Trafford.

Whether anyone bought this scarf, though, for fear of being outed as a closet Kopite, is unknown.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Phelan deals with Fergie fall-out

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Cristiano Ronaldo meets Diego Maradona after Real Madrid v Barcelona

Watch out United! Madrid star Ronaldo picks up some tips from Maradona ahead of Champions League clash

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

13:28 GMT, 3 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:14 GMT, 3 March 2013


Big guns: Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Maradona

Big guns: Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Maradona

Two of the world's finest players met as Real Madrid beat Barcelona in Saturday's Clasico.

Cristiano Ronaldo was one, of course, but his rival Lionel Messi was not the other. No, it was a different Argentina legend – Diego Maradona.

Perhaps Maradona was giving Ronaldo some advice ahead of Madrid's Champions League clash against Manchester United on Tuesday.

He might need it, after Gary Pallister claimed Ronaldo could choke on his return to Old Trafford.

The Portuguese forward left Manchester United for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, becoming the most expensive player in football history at 80million.

The teams go in to the second leg of their Champions League last 16 clash poised at 1-1.

Ronaldo, who posted the picture of
himself with Maradona on Twitter, scored a brilliant header for
Jose Mourinho's side in the first leg.

He came on as a second-half substitute for Kaka in the Clasico as Mourinho opted to give him a rest.

‘It will be interesting to see how
Cristiano handles it because it’s always a bit weird going back to an
old club,' Pallister told The Daily Star Sunday.

‘I remember when I went back to Middlesbrough for the first time in a United shirt, just how weird it all felt.

‘The occasion could get to Ronaldo. Let’s hope it does.’

Watching on: Maradona at the Bernabeu with girlfriend Rocio Geraldine Oliva

Watching on: Maradona at the Bernabeu with girlfriend Rocio Geraldine Oliva

Watching on: Maradona at the Bernabeu with girlfriend Rocio Geraldine Oliva

Hope: Gary Pallister (left) says Ronaldo could choke

Hope: Gary Pallister (left) says Ronaldo could choke

After beating Barcelona for the second
time in a week courtesy of their 2-1 on Saturday, Real will fly to England and prepare for the
game at the home of United's rivals, Manchester City.

Mourinho opted for the Etihad Stadium ahead of Old Trafford, perhaps out of fear of being spied on.

He also does not want to use the Old Trafford pitch because it is in bad shape and he does not want to make it worse for the game against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

Rio Ferdinand tweets that anyone comparing Gareth Bale to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo "doesn"t know football"

Think Bale is on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi You don't know football, says Rio

PUBLISHED:

09:36 GMT, 27 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:43 GMT, 27 February 2013

Rio Ferdinand believes anyone who compares Tottenham’s Gareth Bale to Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Barcelona magician Lionel Messi ‘doesn’t know football’.

The Manchester United defender tweeted to his four million followers that Bale needs to keep scoring at this rate for three or four years for there even to be a debate.

He wrote: ‘People mentioning Bale in the same breath as @Cristiano + Messi really don’t know football! Bale been 1 of best 2 in PL this year but….

'Don't know football!' Rio Ferdinand has slammed those comparing Gareth Bale (below) to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, saying the last two are on a different planet

'Don't know football!' Rio Ferdinand has slammed those comparing Gareth Bale (below) to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, saying the last two are on a different planet

Best in the world Gareth Bale's spectacular strike for Spurs against West Ham on Monday led to comparisons with the greatest players in the world

Best in the world Gareth Bale's spectacular strike for Spurs against West Ham on Monday led to comparisons with the greatest players in the world

‘He is not on CR7 + Messi’s level yet…he carries on doing what he is doing for 2/3yrs then there can be a debate.

‘Bale showed me a clean pair of heals once this year so I’m in good position to judge! CR7 + Messi have been on another planet for 4-5yrs #consistent #KeepItClean’

Bale has already scored 15 goals in the Premier League this season — earning Tottenham an astonishing 15 points on his own.

Number one: Cristiano Ronaldo reminded us of his quality by scoring two goals for Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final with Barcelona last night

Number one: Cristiano Ronaldo reminded us of his quality by scoring two goals for Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final with Barcelona last night

Hot property: Lionel Messi has scored 49 goals for Barcelona already this season

Hot property: Lionel Messi has scored 49 goals for Barcelona already this season

Without him Spurs would be way off their quest for fourth place, languishing down in ninth position in the table. Statistics show manager Andre Villas-Boas has been given Bale free rein to roam the park and be selfish — he is making fewer passes and creating fewer goals than last season but scoring far more.

When Cristiano Ronaldo was Bale’s age at 23, he won the Ballon d’Or after scoring scored 31 goals for Manchester United at a rate of one goal every 89 minutes, with a shooting accuracy of 59 per cent.

So far this season Bale has scored 15 goals at a rate of one goal every 135 minutes, with a shooting accuracy of 57 per cent.

Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 3 (Agg 2-4) – match report: Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice to reach Copa del Rey final

Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 3 (Agg 2-4): Ronaldo sends Jose's men into Copa del Rey final on miserable night for Messi

PUBLISHED:

21:53 GMT, 26 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:13 GMT, 26 February 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid cruised to a 3-1 win against their clasico rivals Barcelona to send Jose Mourinho's team into the Copa del Rey final.

The Portuguese star gave the visitors the lead when he scored a penalty in the 13th minute, which he earned after being brought down Gerard Pique, before he doubled their advantage just before the hour mark.

Raphael Varane headed in a corner in the 68th minute to put the tie beyond doubt but there was still time for a late consolation from Jordi Alba.

Madrid won the semi-final 4-2 on aggregate and set up a final showdown with either Sevilla or city rivals Atletico Madrid.

Star: Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Nou Camp

Star: Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Nou Camp

MATCH FACTS

Barcelona: Pinto, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Jordi Alba, Sergio, Xavi (Alcantara 74), Cesc (Villa 60), Pedro (Tello 71), Iniesta, Messi.

Subs not used: Valdes, Mascherano, Adriano, Song.

Goals: Alba 89.

Real Madrid: Diego Lopez, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao, Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ozil (Pepe 79), Xabi Alonso (Essien 84), Arbeloa, Higuain (Callejon 70), Di Maria.

Subs not used: Adan,Kaka, Benzema, Modric.

Goals: Ronaldo 13, 57, Varane 68.

Att: 90,002.

Referee: Undiano Mallenco.

Latest La Liga results, fixtures and table

More to follow

Cynical: Ronaldo was brought down by Gerard Pique in the penalty area in the 13th minute

Cynical: Ronaldo was brought down by Gerard Pique in the penalty area in the 13th minute


Lead: Ronaldo sent Jose Manuel Pinto the wrong way to open the scoring from the spot

Lead: Ronaldo sent Jose Manuel Pinto the wrong way to open the scoring from the spot

Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Hostile: The Portuguese star was targeted by supporters with lasers


Gap: Ronaldo followed up Sami Khedira's effort to double Madrid's lead in the second half

Gap: Ronaldo followed up Sami Khedira's effort to double Madrid's lead in the second half

Gap: Ronaldo followed up Sami Khedira's effort to double Madrid's lead in the second half

Cruising: Raphael Varane rose highest to head home from a corner and put Real 3-0 up

Cruising: Raphael Varane rose highest to head home from a corner and put Real 3-0 up

Delight: Varane celebrated his goal with manager Jose Mourinho

Delight: Varane celebrated his goal with manager Jose Mourinho

Delight: Varane celebrated his goal with manager Jose Mourinho

Too little, too late: Jordi Alba scored a late consolation for Barcelona

Too little, too late: Jordi Alba scored a late consolation for Barcelona

Downbeat: Lionel Messi looked dejected as Madrid cruised past Barcelona

Downbeat: Lionel Messi looked dejected as Madrid cruised past Barcelona

Lionel Messi

Scouting: Sir Alex Ferguson and his United assistant Mike Phelan were in the stands at the Nou Camp

Scouting: Sir Alex Ferguson and his United assistant Mike Phelan were in the stands at the Nou Camp

Paul Scholes out for two weeks for Manchester United

Manchester United's veteran midfielder Scholes sidelined for further two weeks

By
Chris Wheeler

PUBLISHED:

09:58 GMT, 15 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 15 February 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Paul Scholes will be out for another two weeks with the knee injury that has disrupted his season.

The veteran Manchester United midfielder has not played since the FA Cup fourth round win over Fulham in January as United try to get to the bottom of the problem.

Now he will miss Monday’s fifth round tie at home to Reading as well as the upcoming Premier League games against QPR and Norwich.

Out: Paul Scholes was in training with Manchester United ahead of their trip to Real Madrid

Out: Paul Scholes was in training with Manchester United ahead of their trip to Real Madrid

Ferguson, who admitted recently that he
has not yet opened talks with Scholes, 38, over the possibility of
playing on next season, said: ‘This knee injury has just been bothering
him a bit but we’ve trying another treatment on it over the weekend and
probably another couple of weeks he’ll be back.’

The Scot may be able to call upon Scholes for the home leg against Real on Tuesday, March 5.

Otherwise, Ferguson confirmed his
squad had come through their midweek exertions without a problem, but
that there would be changes to his starting line-up against Brian
McDermott's progressive team.

Praised: David de Gea was lauded by Sir Alex Ferguson for his performance against Real Madrid

Praised: David de Gea was lauded by Sir Alex Ferguson for his performance against Real Madrid

One giant leap: De Gea was beaten by an unstoppable Cristiano Ronaldo header at the Santiago Bernabeu

One giant leap: De Gea was beaten by an unstoppable Cristiano Ronaldo header at the Santiago Bernabeu

Young starter: Gianluigi Buffon (right) broke into the Juventus first team at a young age

Young starter: Gianluigi Buffon (right) broke into the Juventus first team at a young age

Me too: Petr Cech (left) was signed by Chelsea in 2004

Me too: Petr Cech (left) was signed by Chelsea in 2004

'I will make some,' he said.

'We want to get to the quarter-finals and we do expect to qualify.'

Ferguson also had words of praise for
David de Gea, who produced possibly his best performance for United in
the 1-1 Bernabeu draw with a string of fine saves.

'He is maturing,' said Ferguson.

'Very few goalkeepers go into the
first team at 20. Gianluigi Buffon and Petr Cech are two examples of
those who did but it is not always the case.

'Peter Schmeichel didn't join us until he was 27, and he gave us eight great years.'

Focused: Sir Alex Ferguson (left) stands next to Jose Mourinho (right) on Wednesday evening

Focused: Sir Alex Ferguson (left) stands next to Jose Mourinho (right) on Wednesday evening

.

Sir Alex Ferguson hails David de Gea after Champions League draw against Real Madrid

The Real Hero! Fergie hails saviour De Gea as Welbeck gives United edge

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

02:21 GMT, 14 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:23 GMT, 14 February 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed David de Gea's Champions League heroics in the Bernabeu.

The under-fire Spanish goalkeeper was outstanding as Manchester United, who took the lead through Danny Welbeck, escaped with a draw after Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning equaliser.

Ferguson said: ‘De Gea has been improving all season and he even got a touch on the shot from Coentrao in the first half when he put it on to the post.

Anything will do: David de Gea flung himself at everything to keep Real Madrid largely at bay

Anything will do: David de Gea flung himself at everything to keep Real Madrid largely at bay

Anything will do: David de Gea flung himself at everything to keep Real Madrid largely at bay

Anything will do: David de Gea flung himself at everything to keep Real Madrid largely at bay

'He was excellent and made three or
four top saves. He was coming back to Madrid after his career with
Atletico, so to perform like that against Real …’

Real had 28 attempts on De Gea’s goal
in the first leg of this last-16 tie but they were unable to convert
their chances on a frustrating night for Jose Mourinho’s team.

Ferguson added: ‘The tie is 50-50 and
I would say whoever scores first in three weeks’ time will have a good
chance of going through. We made chances and hopefully we won’t regret
missing them.

‘Real are a fantastic
counter-attacking team, but we will be more positive in terms of
selection. We have goals in our team, don’t forget that.’

Re-United: Sir Alex Ferguson embraces his former protegee at the final whistle

Re-United: Sir Alex Ferguson embraces his former protegee at the final whistle

United took the lead when Welbeck scored only his second goal of the season before Ronaldo hit back with a stunning header.

Ferguson added: ‘It reminded me of
his goal against Roma in the quarter-final in 2009 because that also had
unbelievable spring and power.

‘No player can do that – not even
Messi. Cristiano’s a special talent and it’s nice that he came into the
dressing-room after the game to see his old team-mates.’

Ronaldo, who has scored seven times
in the Champions League this season, added: ‘I did not want to celebrate
the goal out of respect, as I played there for six years. I grew up
there. They welcomed me when I was a child and it’s very special to play
against them.’

On target: Danny Welbeck gives United something take back to Old Trafford

On target: Danny Welbeck gives United something take back to Old Trafford

He will see them again on March 5 when United host Real in the second leg at Old Trafford.

Mourinho, who hugged United legend
Paddy Crerand at the end of the post-match press conference, said: ‘They
came here to defend and not to concede goals or space. They didn’t play
to win.

'We have players of great potential
and we can score goals. I don’t feel pressure. At Old Trafford we have
the perfect conditions to win.’

VIDEO He was excellent, some top saves. Fergie hails De Gea

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Cristiano Ronaldo warms-up for Man United clash with 33 minute hat-trick for Real Madrid

Bring on Fergie and United! Ronaldo warms-up for Euro clash with 33 minute hat-trick for Real

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

22:39 GMT, 9 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:19 GMT, 10 February 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo fired an ominous
warning to former club Manchester United with a hat-trick as Real Madrid
warmed up for their Champions League showdown against the Red Devils
with a 4-1 Primera Division win over Sevilla at the Bernabeu.

Matches against Sevilla have proved
rich pickings for Ronaldo and it was no different tonight as he followed
up Karim Benzema's 18th-minute opener with goals in the 26th, 46th and
59th minutes as Madrid sauntered to victory .

Special one: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (C) is congratulated by team mates Fabio Coentrao and Raul Albiol after scoring a goal against Sevilla

Special one: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (C) is congratulated by team mates Fabio Coentrao and Raul Albiol after scoring a goal against Sevilla

Cool finish: Ronaldo scores his goal under pressure of Sevilla's Federico Fazio

Cool finish: Ronaldo scores his goal under pressure of Sevilla's Federico Fazio

That took his tally of hat-tricks for the Spanish giants to an incredible 20 before he was replaced in the 63rd minute as Jose Mourinho opted to wrap his trump card in cotton wool ahead of Wednesday's visit of United in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 clash.

Granada, who stunned Mourinho's men last weekend with a 1-0 win courtesy of a Ronaldo own goal, continued where they left off against the champions this evening as they trounced Deportivo La Coruna 3-0 at the Riazor.

Carlos Marchena's own goal on the stroke of half-time set the visitors on their way and Ighalo's strike six minutes after the restart doubled their advantage.

Depor then missed a number of chances to get themselves back into the game and their night was summed up when they conceded a dubious penalty – converted by Guilherme Siqueira – in the last minute and saw Manuel Pablo sent off.

'For Madrid every game is special, but on Wednesday we have to be ready to meet the challenge,' said Madrid defender Pepe, who went on late for his first action since surgery on his right ankle in early January.

'Cristiano is playing well. He is working hard and we need him to keep it up.'

Three and easy: Ronaldo completes his hat-trick

Three and easy: Ronaldo completes his hat-trick

Off and running: Ronaldo claimed his 20th hat-trick

Up and running: Ronaldo claimed his 21st hat-trick

danger man: Ronaldo with a trademark free kick

Danger man: Ronaldo with a trademark free kick

David Beckham better than Cristiano Ronaldo – The Footballers" Football Column by Adam Eckersley

ADAM ECKERSLEY: I played with Beckham and Ronaldo – but Becks was better… and on one of the few occasions Fergie spoke to me, he warned me of dangers of gambling

PUBLISHED:

08:36 GMT, 6 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:01 GMT, 6 February 2013

Adam Eckersley, Port Vale

Adam Eckersley played one first-team game for Manchester United, before moving to Denmark to play for Horsens and AGF Aarhus. The 27-year-old attacking full back also played for Port Vale, and had loan spells at Royal Antwerp, Brondby, and Barnsley. Here, he talks about life as a Manchester United youngster – and what it’s like being an Englishman abroad…

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BY ECK: CAREER HISTORY

2004-2008: Manchester United
2006: Royal Antwerp (loan)
2006: Brondby (loan)
2007: Barnsley (loan)
2007: Port Vale (loan)
2008: Port Vale (loan)
2008 – 2010: Horsens
2010 – AGF Aarhus

Man Utd 4-1 Barnet
League Cup third round, Oct 2005
Scorers: MU – Miller, Richardson, Rossi, Ebanks-Blake. Barnet – Sinclair

TEAM: Tim
Howard; Phil Bardsley, Gerard Pique, Wes Brown, Adam Eckersley; Lee
Martin (Darron Gibson), Ritchie Jones, Liam Miller, Kieran Richardson;
Giuseppe Rossi, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

My Manchester United debut (at home to Barnet in the League Cup in 2005) was one of the best nights of my life. I was so nervous though.

We met at the hotel about 1pm, I couldn’t sleep, so I spoke to some first-teamers for advice.

I said to Wes Brown, who was playing that night but had made his debut seven years earlier: 'I’m really nervous, are you'

He just looked at me and said: 'I’m not that bothered, to be honest, mate'. I was like: 'Thanks mate!'

I actually found out I was playing the week before. Wes used to have poker nights, once a week on a Monday night. It started off with just a few, but we ended up with 25 to 30 down there. You’d get first-teamers but reserves too, people like me, Chris Eagles, Mark Howard.

At one, Rooney said to me: 'I’ve seen the team, you’re playing next week.'

The manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) once had a word about my poker. I was with the first team on the way back from Birmingham City, playing cards at the back of the bus with the lads.

The next day, the manager had a word. We weren't playing for big amounts, but he told me to stop playing poker, concentrate on my football.

He actually brought up Keith Gillespie, who had gambling problems. It wasn’t the hairdryer, but it was good advice.

I didn’t often speak to the manager at United. If you walked past him at Carrington, he’d make conversation but I worked more with Brian McClair and Jim Ryan.

Debut: Adam Eckersley (No 44) joins the melee of Manchester United players as they swamp goalscorer Liam Miller during the 4-1 Carling Cup win over Barnet at Old Trafford in 2005

Debut: Adam Eckersley (No 44) joins the melee of Manchester United players as they swamp
goalscorer Liam Miller during the 4-1 Carling Cup win over Barnet at Old Trafford in 2005

Rocket man: Eckersley scores against Peterborough during a pre-season friendly at London Road

Rocket man: Eckersley scores against Peterborough during a pre-season friendly at London Road

Larking around: Wes Brown has a giggle at Ruud van Nistelrooy's expense during United training in 2005

Larking around: Wes Brown has a giggle at Ruud van Nistelrooy's expense during United training in 2005

Still, you knew that he knew everything: how you were playing, how you were training.

When I left for good, his last words to me were: 'You’re going to have a great career, you’ve been fantastic here.'

That was really good to hear.

I was in Puccini’s restaurant in Swinton, Greater Manchester, when I first heard about going to Denmark. In 2006, our reserve team manager at United, Rene Meulensteen, went to manage Brondby.

He signed Mark Howard from United. I’ve known Mark since I was five – we played for the same junior team in Salford, Barr Hill – and one day he phoned me up. He asked if I wanted to sign on loan. It was the first I’d heard of it!

Brondby wasn’t my first loan spell abroad. Earlier that year, I went to Antwerp in Belgium. It came as a shock: I came into training one morning, Jim Ryan dragged me in, and said you’re going to Antwerp this afternoon.

There were a few of us over there: Danny Simpson (now at Newcastle United), Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolves), Lee Martin (Ipswich). We lived in a hotel for six months. It was a good opportunity to play first-team football.

What’s the difference between the reserves and first-team games It’s a feeling. In a first team, you’re someone important. You’re doing a job. You’re playing for points, for people’s livelihoods, for the manager’s job.

We would get six or seven thousand people at Antwerp, rather than 300 down at Altrincham for United reserves. I saw my career as a ladder, and this was another step up the ladder.

Injuries aren’t funny. I came back early from my loan spell at Brondby because I did my hamstring. I couldn’t take being injured.

I missed the buzz of the crowd, so I came back too soon. When you get older, you know when to stop. You think, 'You can either miss three games or three months'. When you’re younger, you don’t think like that. You just want to be out there.

Fitness battle: Eckersley at a Danish hospital with his legs in a special recuperation chamber

Fitness battle: Eckersley at a Danish hospital with his legs in a special recuperation chamber

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If you’re coming back from loan spells injured every week, it doesn’t look good. You look at other people who’ve had good loan spells and it really helps them: Tom Cleverley at Wigan, Jonny Evans at Sunderland, Danny Simpson at Sunderland and Blackburn, others.

Injuries held me back a little bit: I’m not saying I’d have been good enough for the first team, but they didn’t help.

In 2007, I had a loan spell at Port Vale and was sent off on my debut (at home to Brighton). I was booked in the first half for a good tackle, threw the ball into the floor, and gave the ref some stick.

In the 80th minute, the attacker was through, I caught him, it was almost a professional foul. I think the ref remembered the stick – he couldn’t get the red card out quick enough!

I still got man of the match though, so not all bad.

Looking back, I rushed my permanent move to Port Vale in 2008. No disrespect, but I think I could have signed for a team higher up the leagues. But I was at the end of my tether with reserve-team football.

I needed a new challenge. I had Evra, Heinze, Silvestre ahead of me. I thought 'you’ve got no chance'.

I signed a six-month deal at Port Vale, but I didn’t really like the football. The Horsens manager, Kent Nielsen (who played at Aston Villa from 1989 to 1991), had seen me during my loan spell at Brondby, and took me over there.

I knew the league, I knew the living conditions. In my first season, I injured my knee and we were relegated, but we won the First Division (the Danish second tier) the next season.

I then went to AGF, who’d been relegated from the Superliga. We went straight back up. Now we’re five points off second, although Copenhagen are running away with the league.

Take a look: Reading manager Brian McDermott watched Eckersley last year but a deal never materialised

Take a look: Reading manager Brian McDermott watched Eckersley last year but a deal never materialised

Living in Denmark was a lot easier after I met my Danish girlfriend, Elizabeth – she's now my wife. I’ve got to know her family; it’s like a home from home.

Do I speak Danish Elizabeth’s trying with me every day. The problem is, everyone here speaks English so well. I’m taking lessons though, and this time next year I reckon I’ll be OK. I don’t want my wife and kids, when we have them, speaking behind my back!

I’m not desperate to come back to England. If a Premier League team came in for me, of course I’d consider it.

Brian McDermott at Reading watched me last year but it didn’t work out. But there’s nowhere I wouldn’t go: Germany, Holland, anywhere. Moving abroad has made me grow up fast.

Family guy: Eckersley with his daughter in Denmark

Family guy: Eckersley with his daughter in Denmark

David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best I’ve played with. If I had to choose Beckham.

I remember a first-team session at United, eight versus eight. Roy Keane was on my team; Beckham was on theirs. He kept crossing, and they kept scoring from them. I couldn’t get near him. Keane was shouting at me, going mad: 'Adam! You’ve got to get out to him, stop the crosses!'

I thought: 'The best full backs in the world can’t stop him, so what chance do I have!'

Keane just wanted the best though. I’m a bit like that with the younger players now.

Top class: Cristiano Ronaldo

Simply the best: David Beckham

Simply the best: Adam played with David Beckham (right) and Ronaldo at United but rates Becks as better

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There are some really good players in Denmark – Lars Jacobsen (Copenhagen, formerly Everton, Blackburn and West Ham), Dennis Rommedahl (Brondby, formerly Ajax and Charlton), Martin Jorgensen (AGF, formerly Udinsese and Fiorentina). It’s a tough league and I enjoy it.

If you’d told me 10 years ago how my career would go, I wouldn’t have believed it. I’ve spoken to my mum about it. It’s amazing how it’s gone.

Elizabeth says it was all mapped out so I’d meet her.

PSG could move for Cristiano Ronaldo if we wanted, says Leonardo

We can if we want! PSG fire clear signal in Ronaldo pursuit but rule out moves for Evra and Cole

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

11:28 GMT, 9 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:28 GMT, 9 January 2013

Paris St Germain chief Leonardo has given the clearest indication yet the club will move for Cristiano Ronaldo in the coming months.

The former Brazil international is in charge of player recruitment at the Ligue 1 leaders, who are bankrolled by the Qatari royal family.

Real deal: Cristiano Ronaldo's future in Madrid is far from certain after a contract dispute

Real deal: Cristiano Ronaldo's future in Madrid is far from certain after a contract dispute

Real deal: Cristiano Ronaldo's future in Madrid is far from certain after a contract dispute

Big bucks: Leonardo, posing with Lucas Moura, is in charge of player recruitment at PSG

Big bucks: Leonardo, posing with Lucas Moura, is in charge of player recruitment at PSG

Ronaldo sparked pandemonium around the
Europe last year when he openly criticised Real Madrid's dealings with
him as he sought to extend his current deal, which has less two years to
run.

Few clubs in world football are capable of stumping up the cash for the world's most expensive player, who has been at the Spanish club since his 80million move from Manchester United in 2009.

And speaking to L'Equipe, Leonardo suggested that, as part of the select group, PSG would be keen on striking a deal.

He said: 'Cristiano Ronaldo Paris St Germain have become a club where anything is possible. However, he still has an ongoing contract with Real Madrid and we have to realise that he will not leave Madrid for just any club.

'When we are discussing a possible transfer for a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, there are only four or five clubs that can be taken into consideration. PSG are one of those.'

PSG are on the verge of signing a sponsorship deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) that will earn the club more than 200m a year until 2016, a move which will help them fall in line with UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules.

Addressing other transfer targets, namely Premier League defenders Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra as well as Lionel Messi, Leonardo was more definitive.

'Cole or Evra No. With Christophe Jalley, Maxwell, Gregory van der Wiel and Sylvain Armand, I think we have what it takes. In the future we will talk abvout it, but not now.'

No thanks: PSG won't be moving for Premier League pair Patrice Evra and Ashley Cole

No thanks: PSG won't be moving for Premier League pair Patrice Evra and Ashley Cole

No thanks: PSG won't be moving for Premier League pair Patrice Evra and Ashley Cole